Some Reds stuff from around the web…

Today’s Baseball America Hot Sheet has Jay Bruce ranked #8.

One could be forgiven for wondering how it is that the best prospect in the land could hit .325 with power in Triple-A at age 21 and not sniff the Hot Sheet. Well, wonder no more. Bruce has produced steadily all season—without having that one knockout week—but the sum of his accomplishments can no longer be ignored….

Drew Stubbs shows up on the “Not so hot” part.

The middle of the order for Sarasota was pretty devastating when it contained Chris Valaika, Juan Francisco and Stubbs. But Valaika was called up and Stubbs plummeted this week…

Baseball America also has a feature on Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. (subsription required). Justin Upton and Orlando Hudson had some nice things to say about Cueto.

“He was unbelievable two years ago and he’s even better now,” Upton said. “He’s got great stuff. He pounds the strike zone with it. He’s just a great pitcher.”

“He was Jake Peavy-like,” Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson said, referring to the Padres ace and defending National League Cy Young Award winner. “His stuff was that good.”

Volquez talked about his maturity on the mound.

“I’m older now,” Volquez said. “I don’t get upset about stuff. I just concentrate on pitching and getting people out. Coming to the Reds has been a good thing for me. It’s something new and I’m really enjoying myself here.”

Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus goes over his April awards for the top pitchers in each league in the minors (Subscription required). Homer Bailey (AAA Louisville), Darryl Thompson (AA Chatanooga) and Luis Montano (Low-A Dayton) all get consideration.

Bailey was given a bit of a mulligan for a disappointing 2007, and so far that seems like the right decision, as he’s been absolutely electric so far in 2008. The Reds might be awful this year, but pitching wins ballgames, and they’re lining up one of the best rotations around.

…Thompson is a guy who the Reds (and the Nationals, before he was traded to Cincy) have always had high hopes for based on his stuff alone. Still just 22, Thompson throws strikes with a plus fastball and solid secondary stuff, and everything has been clicking so far in 2008, as he has a 1.45 ERA in seven starts and 44 strikeouts against just seven walks in 43 1/3 innings.

(Nate) Starner is another off-the-radar guy, but he’ll likely stay that way. An undrafted lefty who turned 24 at the end of the month, he’s definitely the kind of polish over stuff pitcher who’s a longshot to get there. The same could be said for Montano, as the 23-year-old Dominican righty controls the strike zone well, but doesn’t blow hitters away.

Jayson Stark goes over the Josh Hamilton/Edinson Volquez trade in his Rumblings and Grumblings.

But Volquez, whom Texas initially force-fed into the big leagues at too young an age, has been writing a spectacular comeback saga himself. He leads the league in ERA (1.06) and lowest slugging percentage allowed (just .238). And he has become the first Reds pitcher since the 1912 invention of earned runs to start a season by allowing no more than one earned run in each of seven straight starts.

He also discusses a potential Griffey trade and a scout criticizes one of Dusty’s choices.

“You know what was [Dusty Baker’s] biggest mistake? His highest-energy guy is Ryan Freel. But what was the first thing Dusty did? Sit him on his butt to play Corey Patterson. And it didn’t sit well with that team.”